Remembering 1989’s Fantasy World Dizzy

It has been a while since I last wrote for the Retroist. In that time I have spent time reflecting on the nature of retro gaming and the games that I loved as a child. It has been a bit of a bitter-sweet journey. Some games I loved as a child; now hate as an adult. For my first piece of writing since returning I want to go over a game that I loved as a child and now have very different views on today. A game that I still love but also dislike in equal measures.

Fantasy World Dizzy.

Fantasy World Dizzy - Box Art

Fantasy World Dizzy was my first experience with any kind of Dizzy game. It was a medley of bright colours and funky music. It had a cute cartoon mascot in the form of an anthropomorphic egg named Dizzy. And his equally eggy in nature friends, The Yolk Folk. It had a varied and interesting looking locations. All set around various fantasy themes, such as dragons and giant beanstalk.

Yet it was back breaking, controller slamming, the start of curse word using hard. The puzzles required you to make frequent trips back and forth across the game world. Traversing obstacles that would instantly kill you if you didn’t observe the pixel perfect ritual to bypass it.

Fantasy World Dizzy 1

The puzzles themselves would, at times, require some degree of mind reading because you had to work out what the developer was thinking. Rather than using any form of rational logic. And there were several screw you areas and items that instantly ruined your game.

Fantasy World Dizzy 2

Yet I still loved it. I still got a massive jolt of childhood joy when I popped that tape into the C64 Datasette. I got excited when I saw the hypnotic, multicoloured bands of colour on the loading screens. And the audio pleasure when the title music started.

[Via] The Moneill83

I probably still ascribe my love of this game to some deep-rooted childhood faithfulness to the game. Back then I had no disposable income. I was a child; relying solely on the begging my parents for game purchases or gaining pocket-money to procure games. So I would naturally enjoy a game as much as I could because there was potentially a long wait before the next game.

As an adult I can see the faith, that unconditional childhood love, for a game was somewhat misplaced. Yes the game might have been fun back then and is still fun, to a certain frustrating degree, now. Yet there were far better games available on the various home platforms of the time.

Fantasy World Dizzy; and by proxy the rest of the Dizzy series, will always stay a dirty pleasure of mine. Their cartoonish charm and overall polish will keep me coming back. The probable first gaming mascot I ever came across will stay in my heart. A firm fixture of many a childhood happy memory. It also had this British charm. The subtle references to children’s TV and British sense of humour.

Fantasy World Dizzy 3

Yet I will always know that for every time I tried to complete that game, it will be time spent that I will never get back. Time that could have been spent playing something else.

Something potentially far more entertaining.

13 Games of Halloween Day 4 – Dark Seed

On the fourth day of Halloween,
our Dark Lord Cthulhu brought unto us
A man torured by his dreams.

What happens when you take the surreal art of HR Giger and merge it with video games. You get Dark Seed, the surreal and very dark adventure game.

One night Mike Dawson has a Nightmare. In this nightmare he is imprisoned in an alien machine and the embryo of something evil is implanted into his head. The following morning he wakes in his new home with a splitting headache. After have some pain relief he explores his new home some more and finds clues about the previous owner death. And more shockingly the entrance to another dimension hidden in his new home. Will Mike be able to unravel the mystery of the Dark Seed before it is too late to save both himself and all of Humanity?

Dark Seed was a very rich and dark game. It is, however, not an easy game to play. The puzzles are all time sensitive and one mistake with timing means that the game will go into an un-winnable state. It will take multiple plays to know where and when actions must be taken in order to win. This means you maybe watching the same cut scenes and playing out the same actions many times. When I owned the game on the Amiga I remember it taking me months to complete.

Yet given enough time and patience this game is rewarding and the levels of detail woven into the game, and the duel world mechanics, mean it is worth the play. Also the art work by Giger looks stunning especially on something like the AGA Amiga hardware.

The game is available for the Amiga (OCS/ECS and AGA), Amiga CD32, MS DOS, Macintosh, Sega Saturn and PlayStation. Be aware that the Saturn version is only available in Japan but is in English with japanese subtitles. So it is playable for those who like to import their games.

If you wake in the morning to find you have a headache you best check for a portal to another dimension and get help.

 

 

Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb

Recently I have been on a bit of a Hammer Film binge. The Horror Channel has been doing something of a Hammer marathon through October which meant I have had chance to catch up with some great cinematic horror masterpieces. And it also meant that I have had a chance to see a few of the films I have managed to miss over the years.

Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb been one of them.

Synopsis from Hammerfilms.com

Two Egyptologists, Professor Fuchs (Keir) and Corbeck (Villiers), are instrumental in unleashing unmitigated horror by bringing back to England the mummified body of Tara, the Egyptian Queen of Darkness. Fuchs’s daughter, Margaret (Leon), becomes involved in a series of macabre and terrifying incidents, powerless against the forces of darkness, directed by Corbeck, that are taking possession of her body and soul to fulfil the ancient prophesy that Queen Tara will be resurrected to continue her reign of unspeakable evil.

Before we start can I just say Valerie Leon in this film… Yowzers…

I mean I have seen her taking bit parts in other films, two of which have been Bond films, but this is the first time that I have seen her in a staring role. And let me tell you that they don’t mess around and take every opportunity to show of her “assets”. But I will come back to this later on.

While trying not to give too much away I find Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb to be an interesting film in terms of Hammer productions. Firstly the film is not what I would call gory or extreme in any sense. Comparing the film to other Hammer productions, and other horror films of the time, it is almost pedestrian in its approach. There is no mass disembowelling, no decapitation, no blood spewing from every orifice and no orgies of sexual content. In fact the closest it comes to any kind of explicit content is a somewhat sexually suggestive scene, which might have considered risqué, where the character of Margaret, played by Leon, is eating a banana in a provocative way and the odd throat been ripped out. But this doesn’t even result in the spurting of blood you would normally expect from this sort of mummy flick.

This brings me onto the second thing that sets this apart from other horror movies in that it’s not your typical mummy flick. There is a distinct lack of a shambling, bandage draped and grotesque monster which is stalking tomb robbers or the victims of a curse. Instead the mummy is a rather well preserved, and scantily clad, voluptuous Egyptian queen, once again played by Leon. Who stays in a state of not moving or shambling around death until the last bits of the film. Any murders that happen are done either off screen or in a killer POV style. Leaving the film with more of a psychological murder mystery genre feel.

The cinematography of the film is great. Even though the original director, Seth Holt, died during production the replacement director, Michael Carreras, managed to keep the visual style of the film consistent. The camera work is punchy, scenes of impending doom and terror use shadows and camera angles to great effect. The colour is not subdued or dulled but vibrant and pops, thus removing the gritty and grungy feel seen in other Hammer films.

My main fault with this film is in the casting of Valerie Leon as the lead. I didn’t feel she suited the role and actually felt like it was more a case of they were looking for some hot totty. Not that her acting is terrible but there were times where the most she emoted was by widening her eyes and giving a slightly maniacal look on her face. As mentioned earlier they didn’t miss an opportunity to show off her assets though. A fair few scenes have her in either revealing night ware or in a bikini style costume as the evil Egyptian queen. Not that I am really complaining, but it does get a little distracting when you’re trying to keep up with the plot.

The other fault I have with this film is that the story gets rather confusing through the third quarter of the film. There were a few places where I did have a hard time keeping up with the plot. Thankfully though it seems to straighten it’s self out towards the end and you are left with a rather interesting, and ironic, twist ending.

But I won’t spoil it.

Yes this film is not the greatest out of the Hammer films. But it is by no means the worst film. It’s enjoyable to watch and has a rather intriguing story. The faults of the film can be overcome as you watch and try to unravel the mystery that is unfolding in front of you.

-CritAnime

13 Games of Halloween Day 3 – Pinball Fantasies

On the third day of Halloween,
our Dark Lord Cthulhu brought unto us
A table full of fun.

Today is a little bit of fun. After playing Resident Evil 3 and Silent Hill you might be a little jittery. So today why not play what I consider an Amiga classic.

Pinball Fantasies.

I hear you cry “Tis but a trick.This game is not a Halloween title!” however one table could be considered a good one. And that table is Stones N’ Bones as it fits the Halloween theme brilliantly. With a haunted castle, ghosts and assortment of other cartoon horror characters. the table also offers a fair amount of challenge.

It would be fair to say that I love this title. It is one of the best examples of a Pinball sim I have come across. That why I feel this should be the third game of Halloween. And I also offer a friendly challenge to see who can get the highest score between now and Halloween. I am going to start a thread and I want people to post screenshots of their high scores. Or even leave them in the comments section bellow.

The game is available for the Amiga (OCS/ECS and AGA), CD32, DOS, Atari Jaguar, SNES, iOS devices and finally the PSP. So grab a copy on join in the fun.

-CritAnime